Adult education moved to Newent House after 'botched' consultation

Adult education moved to Newent House after 'botched' consultation

Adult education moved to Newent House after 'botched' consultation

First published in News Surrey Comet: Photograph of the Author by , Senior reporter

A Kingston Council officer was interrupted by derisive laughter as he tried to explain away a "botched" consultation over moving the borough’s adult education services.

The service will come to Newent House in Browns Road, Surbiton, after councillors voted to overrule residents' concerns about parking.

More than 70 students are likely to attend classes in the evenings, and residents believe Browns Road and the surrounding area cannot take the strain.

In addition, a mix-up during the consultation meant too few residents received letters informing them of the plans.

Notices in this newspaper and outside the building were placed only after officers realised the error.

Jan Rumball, a Browns Road resident and 25-year veteran of adult education services in the King Charles Centre, said: "There has been a severe and undemocratic lack of a proper consultation.

"I know decisions have already been made."

Council planning officer Adrian Harding admitted the council's efforts had not been "flawless" but insisted the authority had gone "above and beyond" its statutory obligations, prompting laughter from the public gallery.

The service's prospectus had already been printed, and students enrolled on courses, before the committee made its decision.

Tory councillor Phil Doyle heaped the blame on the previous Lib Dem administration.

He said: "This is part of a series of moves which will allow the building of more school facilities.

"We also have to remember that this council was left with a situation where there were not enough school places."

Lib Dem councillor Malcolm Self replied: "You've lowered yourself to the lowest common denominator."

Newly-installed Conservative Berrylands councillor Mike Head, who spoke from the public gallery, said: "The whole thing has been rushed.

“The concept was put forward by the previous adminstration. It has all been botched."

Committee chairman Coun Richard Hudson said: "I'm absolutely livid about this. It's not the first time we've seen this. Officers need to plan this sort of stuff better.

"I'm extremely upset about the way this is being handled."

Coun Hudson said he will insist a one-year lease on the building.

Campaigner Christine Arnold said: "It really makes me concerned for the future of adult education. Nobody seems to know what on earth is going on."

Ms Rumball added she was concerned about disabled residents who use mobility scooters, who she said may have problems negotiating heavier traffic.

Comments (2)

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4:42pm Thu 31 Jul 14

&anotherthing says...

Mmm....some very short memories seem to be at play here or more likely no awareness of what was happening in the north of the borough!!
Campaigning forced changes to plans in the final stages of consultation on another building and Newent had to be considered. Last minute RE-ACTIVE changes due to the demands of very vocal members of the PUBLIC will probably not be seen in the future. Instead, they will be ignored and no scrutiny possible. You have to feel for the residents of Browns Road. Parking is always a problem, but no more than the children with learning and other disabilities that would have had to find new places if the Newent building had not been considered at the eleventh hour! Come on Cllrs, more accuracy and fewer fairy story please. We the public are not stupid.
Mmm....some very short memories seem to be at play here or more likely no awareness of what was happening in the north of the borough!! Campaigning forced changes to plans in the final stages of consultation on another building and Newent had to be considered. Last minute RE-ACTIVE changes due to the demands of very vocal members of the PUBLIC will probably not be seen in the future. Instead, they will be ignored and no scrutiny possible. You have to feel for the residents of Browns Road. Parking is always a problem, but no more than the children with learning and other disabilities that would have had to find new places if the Newent building had not been considered at the eleventh hour! Come on Cllrs, more accuracy and fewer fairy story please. We the public are not stupid. &anotherthing
  • Score: 4

11:55am Mon 18 Aug 14

spicke says...

Not only has this whole planning around the moving of Adult Education been botched and badly organised, the Council also put plans through to use the North Kingston Centre site as a new secondary school without informing the public and other relevant services/agencies that people live on site!
My father is the caretaker at NKC and at present has nowhere to live. I have been fighting with the council who insist that if he doesn't find somewhere to live (bidding on propertities that are not available or move them miles away from their supporting family) then they will place my parents (both over 60 years of age & with medical concerns) anywhere there is a property which is awful treatment for a family that has given over 22 years service to the Local Authority.
I have been fighting my parents case to remain in the local area and to be given a like for like property which Paul Fisher - Housing and Scott Herbertson - Children Services say are not available.
My parents tenancy runs out on the 31st of August and there is no sign of a property being available.
The council are making my parents homeless and should be doing more to help due to their underhand tactics.
Advice from Paul Fisher is for my parents to start packing & throwing away their belongings!
We will fight to stay in the local area and stay in the property until a new property that my parents want to move to becomes available.
I believe if the council wants two OAP's out on the streets in these circumstances, that have nothing to do with the residents wanting to move but rather being forced out of their home then they should be making this a prority and finding my parents a property in the area where they have lived for over 22 years.
Moving so late in life can have a negative impact on older people's health and wellbeing which Paul Fisher seems to think is a joke and will not be taken into consideration unless it is a "matter of life or death".
Zac Goldsmith has been told by the council that the matter is in hand - this means discussing the case with everybody at my father's workplace but not my parents.
Come on Kingston Council - have some decency and make this a priority rather than hoping that the matter can be brushed under the carpet along with everything thing else you have tried to do in relation to Adult Education and the new school!!!
Not only has this whole planning around the moving of Adult Education been botched and badly organised, the Council also put plans through to use the North Kingston Centre site as a new secondary school without informing the public and other relevant services/agencies that people live on site! My father is the caretaker at NKC and at present has nowhere to live. I have been fighting with the council who insist that if he doesn't find somewhere to live (bidding on propertities that are not available or move them miles away from their supporting family) then they will place my parents (both over 60 years of age & with medical concerns) anywhere there is a property which is awful treatment for a family that has given over 22 years service to the Local Authority. I have been fighting my parents case to remain in the local area and to be given a like for like property which Paul Fisher - Housing and Scott Herbertson - Children Services say are not available. My parents tenancy runs out on the 31st of August and there is no sign of a property being available. The council are making my parents homeless and should be doing more to help due to their underhand tactics. Advice from Paul Fisher is for my parents to start packing & throwing away their belongings! We will fight to stay in the local area and stay in the property until a new property that my parents want to move to becomes available. I believe if the council wants two OAP's out on the streets in these circumstances, that have nothing to do with the residents wanting to move but rather being forced out of their home then they should be making this a prority and finding my parents a property in the area where they have lived for over 22 years. Moving so late in life can have a negative impact on older people's health and wellbeing which Paul Fisher seems to think is a joke and will not be taken into consideration unless it is a "matter of life or death". Zac Goldsmith has been told by the council that the matter is in hand - this means discussing the case with everybody at my father's workplace but not my parents. Come on Kingston Council - have some decency and make this a priority rather than hoping that the matter can be brushed under the carpet along with everything thing else you have tried to do in relation to Adult Education and the new school!!! spicke
  • Score: 1

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